R Soper secures £8m funding for expansion

R Soper, the Barnoldswick textile manufacturer, has secured a new £8m financing package from Lloyds Bank as it targets further growth in its home furnishings offering to leading UK retailers, who are increasingly sourcing high quality, British-made products.

RSoperThe deal, which sees Lloyds Bank become the company’s sole lender, includes a £6m invoice discounting line, a property loan, and a plant and machinery loan, as well as a letter of credit facility and day to day banking services from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking’s Mid Markets team in the North West.

R Soper, which was founded as a drapery shop in Lytham more than 90 years ago, supplies fabric-based home furnishings such as curtains and furniture coverings to major retailers. The company is the largest producer of blinds in the UK.

The firm employs more than 300 people and also includes specialist printer and dyer of fabric Stead McAlpin, which was acquired in 2009. Originally founded in 1835 and based in Carlisle, Stead McAlpin supplies its high quality printed fabrics to leading retailers. The acquisition aligned the group’s supply chain, enabling it to import yarn, weave, print and dye fabric, and manufacturing blinds, drapes and soft furnishing coverings.

R Soper will build on increasing demand from UK retailers for its high quality manufactured products to deliver further growth.

Ben Soper, managing director at R Soper, said: “In recent years we have built a fully integrated fabric home furnishings business, which offers the best quality products and a flexible service to customers.

“This full service offering means that we are ideally positioned to further grow our presence in the UK retail market – both through our relationships with leading names and our own brand Sandown & Bourne. Major retailers in this country are putting greater emphasis on buying the best British-made products, having up until recently focused on sourcing goods from the Far East.

“Lloyds Bank has proved to be supportive and alive to the needs to our business, and we look forward to forming a strong working partnership with the team over the coming years.” Darren Winterbottom, director at Lloyds Bank in the North West, commented: “This financing package supports future investment in the group’s asset base to ensure it remains at the forefront of fabric manufacturing and supply, and improves the efficiency of its working capital cycle to release funding for growth."